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Feb 11, 2015 10:33 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe Hoping For Single Year Tuition Deal With Southampton

Feb 11, 2015 10:57 AM

Eighth-graders at Tuckahoe School will have to wait at least two more weeks for official word on where they will be attending high school come fall.

At a Tuckahoe Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night, Board President Bob Grisnik said the district, which has been offered a tuition deal by the Southampton School District, is still working to negotiate the lowest possible tuition rate for next year. He said he hopes to have an answer for concerned parents at the end of a community forum on February 23.

Mr. Grisnik also was adamant on Tuesday that a merger with the Southampton School District is still in the best interest of both communities, and that continuing tuition deals with Southampton would further that goal.

“We are still talking with them,” he said. “We hope that, sometime this week, I can meet with their board president to confirm some numbers, and we hope to have some answers soon.”

The tuition problem is a thorny one, Mr. Grisnik explained, because sending a student to a school for his or her freshman year is, to Tuckahoe officials, a four-year commitment to that school, because of the desire to maintain a consistent educational experience for that student. But that limits options for Tuckahoe students to be switched to a different school—one where tuition rates might be significantly lower—in subsequent years.

According to Mr. Grisnik, the district most likely will continue with an exclusivity deal with Southampton, even after rejecting a proposed five-year tuition plan. Under the declined proposal, Southampton offered a 15-percent discount, beginning in 2015-16, from the top non-resident tuition rate set by a state formula, as well as a 25-percent discount on special education tuition—although both rates would still be higher than the amount Tuckahoe paid this year to send students to Southampton High School. As a condition of the deal, Tuckahoe would have been required to commit to a tuition contract through 2020, a move that would have required a referendum.

For now, Tuckahoe officials said they are working on a one-year tuition deal, claiming that a five-year deal is not sustainable for the one-school district, largely because it would be based on Southampton’s year-to-year districtwide spending increases, and thus Tuckahoe would have no control over rate increases. They added that the district would not be able to handle increasing tuition rates after next year.

Instead, Tuckahoe plans to counteroffer a one-year tuition deal with negotiated special education rates. Officials explained that over the next three years, Tuckahoe expects to have an unusually high number of special education students entering Southampton High School, which could more than double the total tuition that Tuckahoe pays Southampton. However, most of the students do not require a full day of special education services, and Tuckahoe officials maintain that there should be different tuition rates for varying levels of special education services.

After the current issue is resolved, officials say they hope to work to find a long-term solution for Tuckahoe students.

“The way the numbers are coming in, our best deal is the same deal we have had over the last few years with the Southampton schools,” Mr. Grisnik said. “We are leaning toward Southampton, because that is our best deal, but we are continually working for a better deal.”

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Grisnik, Crow and Stuedte - a triumvirate of incompetence, ignorance and obstinance.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Feb 11, 15 2:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who is Grisnik talking too about a merger? I thought after two straw votes failed that was the end of merger talks. Tuckahoe really needs a new board, because they are fixated on a merger not cost cutting.
Remember after all the crying by Grisnik that Tuckahoe is broke Grisnik gave the superintendent a 35k a year raise! That's right after the second failed straw vote Grisnik gave 35k to Mr Dyer. Now there is a fiscally responsible board. Lol
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 13, 15 7:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
BOE president Heather is desperate to get this done along with LaValle. Helping push Cuomo's agenda for consolidation across NY.
By April1 (156), Southampton on Feb 13, 15 8:16 PM
Consolidation in this instance doesn't lower costs it just lowers taxes at Tuckahoe, and steals 9 million in Southampton savings. A scam!!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 14, 15 5:44 PM